Know the basics
What is halitosis?
Bad breath, also called halitosis, can result from poor dental hygiene and certain foods, health conditions and habits are among the causes of bad breath.
How common is halitosis?
This health condition is extremely common. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of halitosis?
The common symptoms of halitosis are bad breath odors, depending on the source or the underlying cause.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
Know the causes
What causes halitosis?
- Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic and spices can cause bad breath.
- Tobacco products. Smoking causes its own unpleasant mouth odor.
- Poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth, causing bad breath.
- Dry mouth. Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odors.
- Infections in your mouth. Bad breath can be caused by surgical wounds after oral surgery, such as tooth removal, or as a result of tooth decay, gum disease or mouth sores.
- Other mouth, nose and throat conditions. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses or throat, which can contribute to post nasal drip, also can cause bad breath.
- Other causes. Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath such as pneumonia, chronic sinus infections, diabetes, chronic acid reflux.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for halitosis?
There are many risk factors for halitosis, such as:
- Having a certain disease
- Bad dental care.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is halitosis diagnosed?
Your dentist will likely smell both the breath from your mouth and the breath from your nose and rate the odor on a scale. Because the back of the tongue is most often the source of the smell, your dentist may also scrape it and rate its odor.
There are sophisticated detectors that can identify the chemicals responsible for bad breath, though these aren’t always available.
How is halitosis treated?
Treatment for bad breath can vary, depending on the cause.
If your bad breath is thought to be caused by an underlying health condition, your dentist will likely refer you to your primary care provider.
For causes related to oral health, your dentist will work with you to help you better control that condition, including:
- Mouth rinses and toothpastes with an antibacterial agent to kill the bacteria that cause plaque buildup.
- Treatment of dental disease.If you have gum disease, you may be referred to a gum specialist (periodontist). Sometimes only professional cleaning removes these bacteria. Your dentist might also recommend replacing faulty tooth restorations, a breeding ground for bacteria.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage halitosis?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with halitosis:
- Brush your teeth after you eat. Brush using a fluoride-containing toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after meals. Toothpaste with antibacterial properties has been shown to reduce bad breath odors.
- Floss at least once a day. Proper flossing removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth, helping to control bad breath.
- Brush your tongue. Your tongue harbors bacteria, so carefully brushing it may reduce odors.
- Clean dentures or dental appliances. If you wear a bridge or a denture, clean it thoroughly at least once a day or as directed by your dentist.
- Avoid dry mouth. To keep your mouth moist, avoid tobacco and drink plenty of water — not coffee, soft drinks or alcohol, which can lead to a drier mouth.
- Adjust your diet. Avoid foods such as onions and garlic that can cause bad breath. Eating a lot of sugary foods is also linked with bad breath.
- Regularly get a new toothbrush. Change your toothbrush when it becomes frayed, about every three to four months, and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Schedule regular dental checkups. See your dentist on a regular basis — generally twice a year — to have your teeth or dentures examined and cleaned.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Bad breath. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bad-breath/manage/ptc-20192416 . Accessed September 26, 2016.
Bad breath. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/bad-breath#1. Accessed September 26, 2016.
Bad breath. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bad-breath/pages/introduction.aspx. Accessed September 26, 2016.
Review Date: October 9, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017